Many would agree that breaking down barriers is tough, especially trying to carve a pathway for others following the same footsteps. According to Dr. Bernie Miller, Pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church in Tennessee, agrees with this statement and says it is just the beginning. The Breaking Down Barriers Men’s Conference is a youth, spiritual, nonsecular yet modernistic event inviting all men and boys. “The BDBMC” is Christian based, but it welcomes anyone who is a follower or seeker of God and is looking to engage with individuals who are like-minded or share similar beliefs. This youth meeting bring small groups of adult men and young boys, of all ages from different backgrounds together to unite and find different ways to improve understanding and communication between people who have different opinions. The different flairs staged a former football player, Christian radio personality, a former lead singer of Confederate Railroad, inspirational speakers, a book author and different pastors. The BDBMC occurs the second Friday of each month on the first level of the Fellowship Baptist Church in Rome, Georgia. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and close at 10:00 p.m., giving the audience more than enough time to ask questions while meeting fellow conference speakers. Since the event is Christian based, they require each person to donate can goods or make some sort of charitable donation, yet the more donations the more you are helping the less fortunate. The cost to attend the event is free cover charge at the door and you will be directed to your seat by Joe Kines, veteran football coach of four decades.
Dr. Bernie Miller is the founder and creator of this event along with co-founder Chris McDaniel and a huge supportive team behind them. When asked why they both decided to generate Breaking Down Barriers Men’s Conference, Dr. Miller conveys about how hard it is in the city of Atlanta and in life for men to overcome certain obstacles. He quotes, “ There are many groups for young women and girls, but not many for men. Men are looked at as hard and don’t have many support outlets, so that was part of the reason we started this conference meeting.” He also states that he wanted to give a platform that would showcase different perspectives and the ability to learn from one another. Mr. Mcdaniel added how this event is another alternative for Christian men and boys who still want to have fun and enjoy themselves on a Friday night have the opportunity and the pleasure of doing so without resorting to activities such as drinking, club-hopping, or an environment where they feel uncomfortable around. Chris Mcdaniel is a former lead singer of Confederate Railroad and he is also a Worship Pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Dalton, GA. Mr. Mcdaniel says he is shocked by the turnout of the event and is amazed at how they are able to afford to hold and host this event each month. He quotes, “ Anything is possible with God.” Dr. Miller says the donation that each person makes goes toward different charities, food banks and shelters, but other fees such as member fees which are optional and other outside donations made goes toward the conference meeting costs. Which happens to be one of the main reasons they are able to afford the necessities sustaining the event and making this event a unification between adults and adolescents.
What makes “BDBMC” stand out amongst other youth conference meetings or events are their different approaches and techniques to emphasize the importance of the event and the productions of their inspirational speakers. The first speaker who blessed the stage concurs with this statement. Brent Manion, who is a known Christian radio veteran and station manager of WMBW Moody Radio in Chattanooga,TN attended the men’s conference meeting. When asked the question if men are given more access to opportunities than other social groups he retorted, “The question is whether there is the will and commitment among our region’s government, business, and philanthropic sectors to make the changes and take the chances needed.” John Croyle, 32 years old, an alumni and former football player of the University of Alabama, gave a speech for the first time at BDBMC stirring a big applause from the audience with his immaculate delivery and powerful words. When asked what he thinks about the men’s conference he says, “ It helps you think about how you can use what you gain from your experience here which is new understanding and planning and communication skills.” He also speaks at other youth meetings, but says “BDBMC” is different because it allows you to challenge leadership skills. You’re able to provide ministry, having an impact on the crowd and not for selfish gain. Another conference speaker in attendance who received a big uproar from the crowd is Allan Taylor, 42 years old, a regular attendee of “BDBMC”. Mr. Taylor is a former high school football coach, a church minister of education, a current author, and Director of Christian Education at LifeWay in Nashville, TN. He says, “I love attending these events because of the good vibes,good energy, and good food”, he says jokingly. He then goes on to say, “There are many barriers men face like competition, access to certain jobs, capital, social isolation, and other resources. We’re here to try to help and teach them useful resources.” Dr. Miller believes that in order to dismantle these and other barriers, BDBMC urges and encourages boys and men to increase more support for high-performing community organizations that help the youth and men improve their economic status. Different businesses, government, and the philanthropic sectors should also work together in order to succeed and support networking and peer-learning opportunities for all races and ages of men. Also increase entrepreneurs’ access to business capital, develop supplier and market networks to help make certain businesses more sustainable, and expand access to skills training programs.
What all of these speakers have in common are the love of God. Many of these blessed speakers share their messages and the testimonies of Jesus Christ, helping others by sharing their life experiences, trials and tribulations giving all attribution to God and their Savior Christ. Yet, all people from different backgrounds are still welcomed and will not be turned away. Their principle they live by is that everyone in the world is connected some way somehow and we should be in the business of helping each other.